Mayor Adams is endorsing a former City Hall staffer seeking to topple a pro-Andrew Yang district leader in Brooklyn — a contest that one of the mayor’s top aides has been extensively involved in behind the scenes.
The ex-City Hall staffer, Pinny Ringel, is running in Tuesday’s primary against David Schwartz, the district leader of Brooklyn’s 48th Assembly District, which covers swaths of Borough Park, Mapleton and Midwood.
Schwartz has been a fierce critic of Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, the chairwoman of the borough’s Democratic Party and an Adams ally. The mayor’s endorsement gives Ringel a big boost in the final days of the campaign.
“I have known Pinny Ringel for many years and have seen first-hand his effective advocacy for the people of Brooklyn,” Adams said in a statement Friday. “I am pleased to endorse him for Democratic District Leader in Brooklyn’s 48th Assembly District. I urge you to vote for Pinny Ringel on Tuesday.”
Adding to the momentum for Ringel, Adams attended a fundraiser for his campaign in Borough Park on Wednesday night, said two local political operatives directly familiar with the matter. The fundraiser appearance was first reported by Politico.
A top lieutenant to Adams is also involved in giving a hand to Ringel, underscoring the importance of the race for the mayor.
In March, the Daily News reported that Menashe Shapiro, Adams’ deputy chief of staff, was working the phones to line up support for Ringel — including by pressuring City Council members to stop publicly backing Schwartz, whose district spans the predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods of Borough Park and Midwood.
The two political operatives familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of angering the mayor, said Shapiro has since this spring only gotten more involved.
Shapiro has served as Ringel’s “de facto campaign manager” in the final days of the race, the sources said.
“He is burning up the phones making calls, on the ground working volunteers — basically all the things a campaign manager would do,” said one of the operatives.
Shapiro, who was a political strategist before joining Adams’ administration, declined to comment when reached Friday.
Adams spokesman Fabien Levy declined to comment on Shapiro’s role in Ringel’s campaign, but said that as deputy chief of staff, Shapiro “is focused on serving the people of New York City every day.”
The Adams team’s participation in the low-level race has rubbed some Brooklyn community leaders the wrong way.
Ex-state Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who used to represent the 48th District and is a supporter of Schwartz, said in March that Adams’ invovlement gives the impression he is punishing Schwartz for supporting Yang’s 2021 mayoral campaign and being publicly critical of Bichotte-Hermelyn’s leadership of Brooklyn Democrats.
Schwartz, who worked on Yang’s mayoral campaign last year and was first elected district leader in 2016, declined to comment Friday.